Property Tax Amendment Heads out of the Legislature

Tallahassee, FL – House Speaker Marco Rubio articulated what almost every other lawmaker said between
the lines.

Every option before us has consequences that are less than ideal. That's where we are.

The House had little choice. Either accept the proposed compromise or kill the January
special election. The Senate plan left House members under whelmed. The House wants
new exemptions for the senior citizens, working water fronts and first time Home buyers.
But Senate maneuvers left no opportunities for debate. Last week, Senators passed a plan
and went home. Monday the Senate passed a plan and went into recess. Many House
members expressed frustration with the Senates refusal to engage the House in debate.
Tarpon Springs Representative Peter Nehr.

Florida governments collect more than 30 billion dollars in property taxes, according to
Florida Taxwatch, a group that monitors government spending. That money is used to
pay for schools, police, garbage pickup and services for the elderly. Senate Majority
Leader Daniel Webster shepherded Senators through a process that produced a 12 billion
dollar tax cut spread over five years. And he says balancing tax relief with the services
Floridians expect is no easy feat.

The compromise that emerged from the senate created portability for the save our homes
cap, gave non homestead property a 10 percent cap, provided a personal property
exemption for businesses and doubled the homestead exemption. The total tax cut
exceeded the Houses original offer by a billion dollars. Still, House member, complained
it didn't do enough.

Many lawmakers say the Legislature can pass tax reform during the spring session. But
Senators may have lost its appetite for further discussion. Property taxes have been
debated for more than a year in Tallahassee and in public hearings across the state. But
the Senate may have lost its appetite for further discussion Senate Minority Leader Steve
Geller.